Second Test, Brisbane: Day 3 – Return of Johnson the allrounder

Steve Smith (inset) raised a century on debut as Australian Captain, while Mitchell Johnson looked every bit the allrounder. Images: ABC Grandstand

Steve Smith (inset) raised a century on debut as Australian Captain, while Mitchell Johnson looked every bit the allrounder. Images: ABC Grandstand

The New Daily: It takes a bit to outshine Steven Smith’s brilliant batting currently, but Mitchell Johnson may just have managed it in one of the innings of his career on Day 3 in Brisbane.

India will go into the fourth day of the Second Test on 1/71 trailing by 26 runs, after they finally removed the last of the Australian tail just after Tea. Smith compiled a brilliant 133, but it was the crisp strokeplay of Mitchell Johnson, and later Mitchell Starc (52) that won the plaudits.

After poking around for runs from his first ten balls, Johnson unleashed a flurry of boundaries to raise his tenth Test fifty in just 37 balls. It was further reminder that his sublime talents aren’t just limited to the ball.

It was also a reminder of Johnson’s feast or famine returns with the bat. Today was a feast, and in amongst Johnson’s 13 fours and a six were some of the most beautifully struck drives, cuts, and pull shots as any top order batsman could imagine.

His straight-driven boundary to reach fifty will take a lot of beating as the shot of the summer.

Cheap Seats Episode 28: We’re back!

the Cheap Seats podcast: By popular demand (one person asking = demand), Ryan O’Connell and I are back in the studios for the 2014 return of the Cheap Seats podcast.

In this episode, Ryan and I conclude a few of our petty social media tiffs over the summer, and issue what amounts to a desperate plea for listener interaction with a new segment, #AskTheCheapSeats.

Canterbury captain Michael Ennis, and THAT Nines jersey..

Canterbury captain Michael Ennis, and THAT Nines jersey..

Episode 28 talking points: the comprehensive wrap of Australia’s big win in the First Test against South Africa in Centurion and yet more adulation of Mitchell Johnson; the selection conundrum rapidly approaching the Australian selectors; the brilliance of Michael Clarke; the NRL 9s, how good or bad it was as an event and game, and what it means for the All Stars format; the Super Rugby season begins in Australia and New Zealand; and the all new segment, Worst Case Scenario.

Get us on Twitter at @Cheap_Seats_ and use the tag #AskTheCheapSeats

Johnson’s wet sail season yields the Allan Border Medal

Allan Border with Mitchell Johnson, after Johnson claimed the Border Medal in Sydney on Monday night. Image: ABC Grandstand

Allan Border with Mitchell Johnson, after Johnson claimed the Border Medal in Sydney on Monday night. Image: ABC Grandstand

From being part of the Mohali Four in the now-infamous ‘Homeworkgate’ debacle on the disastrous Tour of India, to destroying England for fun. That’s the rough summary of Mitchell Johnson’s year in cricket.

And if 37 English wickets at 13.97 to spearhead Australian to a remarkable 5-0 Ashes Series clean sweep wasn’t a spectacular enough finish to 2013, last night this wettest of wet sails overran pre-event favourite and reigning holder, Australian Captain Michael Clarke, to have Johnson claim his first Allan Border Medal.

Johnson’s excellent one-day form in England and India, followed by his Man of the Series dominance during The Ashes saw him poll 168 points, ahead of Clarke on 156, and new cult-hero James Faulkner on 121. Shane Watson was fourth on 119, and George Bailey and Steven Smith tied for fifth on 114 points.

The Australians get around Mitchell Johnson after he removed Michael Carberry on Day 2 in Brisbane. This was his second scalp of the Test, and they got around him 35 more times for the series. Image: Steven Hight - AURA Images

The Australians get around Mitchell Johnson after he removed Michael Carberry on Day 2 in Brisbane. This was his second scalp of the Test, and they got around him 35 more times for the series. Image: Steven Hight – AURA Images

Johnson scored maximum points in the first two Ashes Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide, and picked up votes in Melbourne as well, while Clarke only polled votes in one of the five Tests. Johnson played seven fewer Tests than Clarke over the voting period which included 14 Tests, 23 ODIs and five T20Is.

A surprise, but not undeserving accolade, the award really is the cherry on top for Mitchell Johnson’s 2013..

Fifth Ashes Test: Australia’s day

Steven Smith celebrates as his brought up his century on Day 1 of the Fifth Ashes Test in Sydney. Image: ABC Grandstand

It’s always good to get to an SCG Test, but all the more special this for being something of a catch-up session with many an English friend from the last Ashes Tour to these shores three years ago.

And the cricket wasn’t bad, either. Australia found themselves in the deep stuff just after lunch, yet found themselves in yet another dominant position at Stumps on Day 1 in Sydney.

A 128-run stand between Steven Smith and Brad Haddin in the middle session saw England’s thoughts on the day’s honours disappear in the space of two hours. Haddin was out for 75, but Smith went on to post 115, his second century of the series (a bold prediction of mine pre-series), the third of his career, and the first one the boys and I have seen on Day 1 in Sydney since Andrew Symonds raised three figures on the first day of that spiteful Test against India in January 2008 (where he smashed the cover off one in the 20s and was given not out).

Mitchell Johnson joined the party late in the day by removing Michael Carberry and generally scaring the bejesus out of English batsmen. It’s been a truly happy day..

(All but my planned cross with Test Match Sofa, which had to be canned after three attempts; they could hear me, I couldn’t hear anything. Hopefully normal transmission returns tomorrow..)